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News and Announcements
Entrepreneurial Mindset Overcomes at SFU’s Largest Student Entrepreneurship Showcase
April 27th, 2020 - 3:48pm
Opportunity Fest, the largest event hosted by SFU’s Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship, overcame adversity this year by switching to remote format in order to go ahead in the face of COVID-19-related restrictions. The organizers drew on their entrepreneurial mindset and resourcefulness to overhaul their plans and connect over 200 students and industry experts via online platforms, to showcase SFU’s emerging entrepreneurs.
The annual event brings students from all faculties together with industry, academic and alumni judges to give real world support and feedback to student projects and awards over $5,000 in prizes. The event usually takes over the mezzanine at SFU’s Surrey campus with over 250 people, and was on course to celebrate its tenth anniversary in that format. Just weeks out from the event, students and the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship’s team watched as the pandemic grew, and the format shifted almost hourly.
“Our experience with the event really shows why we need to cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset in all students,” says Dr. Sarah Lubik, Executive Director of the Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship, in the Beedie School of Business. “Our students, judges, team and sponsors all showed exceptional empathy, adaptability and resourcefulness. It never occurred to us to do anything besides keep going.”
Over 170 students were divided into five categories by the challenges they had chosen to tackle: Education Innovation, Community Resilience, Environmental Impact, Personal Health & Well-being and Business & Lifestyle. These teams pivoted from their planned in-person pitches to produce creative video presentations which were followed by live Q&A. They showed ingenuity, creativity, problem solving and innovation –key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. The events team used the university’s classroom remote learning platform, youtube and a conference call command centre to bring those students together with over 40 judges and faculty moderators.
“At the Chang Institute, we believe in the power of interdisciplinary teams to overcome challenges, and this year backed this up in ways we’d never expected. First the event was planned as a massive fair; then we thought maybe we could do it in multiple large rooms; then online, but that each team could be together; to finally, everything had to be remote.” said Dr. Lubik. "Ultimately we needed new technology, different operations, design, communications and more. But one of the silver linings was that the new format gave our students a chance to demonstrate amazing creativity and show off interdisciplinary skills that don’t necessarily get to shine the same way in traditional formats.
Everyone involved demonstrated entrepreneurial mindset. “It’s times like these that we see how aligned we are with our friends and partners, and Westminster Savings [formally merged with Prospera Credit Union]. They were incredible in their unwavering support, flexibility, and generosity of time and spirit!”
“We believe that the entrepreneurial spirit is the birthplace of many great creations and small businesses” says Bryan MacIntosh, Senior Manager of local business, Westmister Savings (now merged with Prospera Credit Union), event sponsor. “We also believe that small businesses are the lifeline and the heart of our community. We are proud to work with the Beedie School of Business and the Chang Institute to support the bright minds and unwavering passions of these young entrepreneurs
Check out our Award Winners below!
About the Chang Institute:
The Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship is SFU’s interdisciplinary clubhouse for the cultivation of the entrepreneurial mindset, bringing together students, faculty and community members from all disciplines to create opportunities and address real world problems. The Chang Institute supports Canada’s most inclusive and comprehensive continuum of entrepreneurship support, working with elementary and high school partners to every level of university education through to early stage incubation.
About Prospera Credit Union:
Building on over 75 years as a BC credit union, Prospera is proud to serve communities from Vancouver to Kelowna. As a member-owned financial institution, our number one priority is the financial well-being of families and businesses in our local communities and our dedicated team is here to serve all their banking, lending, investing and insurance needs. Making life better for everyone is important at Prospera, which has an extensive community investment program devoted to supporting the organizations, events and volunteers that make our BC communities stronger.
And the winners are....: Opportunity Fest 2020: Sponsored by Westminster Savings (now officially merged with Prospera Credit Union)
April 2, 2020 9:35 PM
Dear Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Changemakers,
Thank you so much everyone for making OppFest 2020, our first online OppFest, such a huge success! It has taken a great deal of flexibility, resourcefulness and hard work from the participants, moderators, judges and the team, but it means the world to see over 200+ people come together and not let circumstances get in the way of becoming and supporting the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and changemakers.
Remember that while tonight’s festivities are over, OppFest is not! There is still a celebrity reception with participants, judges and sponsors, which we will announce when we can hold gathering again! Watch your inboxes.
Just a reminder that the cash prizes are: 1st place $500, 2nd place $200, 1st $100, Entrepreneurs' Choice $125 and the $1000 Triple Bottom Line Grand Prize
Without further ado (drum role please!), the winning teams from tonight’s showcase are:
In the Category of Environmental Impact
1st - Climate Influx: A multi-modal awareness campaign to engage MetroVancourites in the global climate migration conversation
2nd – A tie*! Hybridnetic: providing a clean energy alternative for gas consuming vehicles
Fade Apparel: Transformable Clothing that offers versatility and ease of styling to customers who have that need.
3rd – Green Guard: Tackling the sustainability issue of hockey equipment, specifically looking at alternatives to petroleum plastics in pads and skates.
Entrepreneurs’ Choice – BioPak: Sustainable and biodegradable packaging made from natural ingredients
In the Category of Educational Innovation
1st – Studyhubble: a platform to easily connect students through a shared responsibility in studying for their classes
2nd – Athena Class Collaborator: Making class taking simpler and easier for everyone
3rd – Foodversity: A new way for you to easily view your food options on campus
Entrepreneurs’ Choice – Top Down Nights: Development of entrepreneurial and creative thinking skills
In the Category of Community Resilience
1st – Cultivate: focuses on empowering local business in their role as employers to people living with employment barriers
2nd – Neighbourhood Clubhouse: Improvement of neighbourhood resiliency through low barrier and inclusive space to develop connections with like-minded peers
3rd – Meet: A mobile application to help international students make friends
Entrepreneurs’ Choice – Cultivate (as above)
In the Category of Business and Lifestyle
1st – KIXL: A consumer hardware company that is making a shoe cleaning machine
2nd – OpeNest – A renter-and-owner management app that helps owners manage compatible, responsible renters and creates a smooth housing experience for renters
3rd – Stirr: Coffee and tea made stir sticks that dissolve in water, making it instant and ready to drink
Entrepreneurs’ Choice – KIXL: A consumer hardware company that is making a shoe cleaning machine
In the Category of Personal Health & Well-being
1st – A tie*: Team KHROM: Making Splints for Gradual Rehabilitation of Children with Disabilities Using 3D Imaging
SafEat: Universal allergen symbols for the food supply chain
2nd – Four: A self-care destination that covers four different aspects of wellness: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual
3rd – Skinnovate: Helping everyday people learn about and understand their skin by connecting them with experienced professionals
Entrepreneurs’ Choice - Luvzi: A solution that targets couples in long-distance relationships
And the TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE GRANDPRIZE for the Team that showed the most significant dedication to people, planet and economic sustainability is:
Climate Influx: A multi-modal awareness campaign to engage MetroVancourites in the global climate migration conversation
Neighbourhood Clubhouse: Improvement of neighbourhood resiliency through low barrier and inclusive space to develop connections with like-minded peers
*these teams will split the cash prizes
Congratulations! Your prize will be mailed to you on a visa gift card. Alyanna will be in touch to get your postal address.
Once more a huge thank you to our sponsors Westminster Savings (now officially Prospera Credit Union) and the Beedie School of Business.
Thank you also the virtual command centre: Alyanna Salang, Ben Chow, Lynn Warburton, Betty Riddle, Jesika Kula, Tanishvir Singh and Pariya Zabihi!
Congratulations once more and have a wonderful night!
Sarah & The OppFest Team
Opportunity Fest 2020! Coming this April 2, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.!
February 28, 2020
Opportunity Fest, sponsored by Westminster Savings (now officially merged with Prospera Credit Union), is SFU’s largest showcase of student entrepreneurship projects. Coming to SFU Surrey Campus, this annual event is hosted by The Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship at SFU’s Beedie School Business, where students across SFU showcase their products and ventures through business plans and prototypes. SFU students will also be joined by high school students, who earn course credits through the Young Entrepreneurs Leadership Launchpad, and by elementary students, who explore their entrepreneurial mindset through PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs. In this event, there will be judges from industry, academia, and the wider community who will engage with the student teams, evaluate their projects, and award prizes.
For this year’s event, The Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship will recognize and celebrate Opportunity Fest’s 10 years of unlocking students’ potential. You will get a chance to see a venture competition up close, to explore different student inspired solutions that can benefit our world today, and to network with industry professionals. Come support and meet the creative young entrepreneurs at the 10th annual Opportunity Fest!